Book Review: Faith

By Jennifer Haigh

Review copy sent by Harper Collins
Thank you Jennifer

Warning: This is a different kind of post. It is of course a review of the book. But, I am posting about my memories of a place that both the author and I share, Nantasket Beach outside of Boston.

Jennifer Haigh's new novel, Faith is about a scandal that happen's to a Irish, Catholic family.  The scandal is the molestation of a child by a prominent priest named Art. It is the story from each of the family member's perspective that draws the readers in bit, by bit.   Art, is the step brother from the previous marriage. Then Sheila, and Mike from another marriage.

The family grew up in a rough part of South Boston( which is termed, Southie). All of them have secrets hidden about their childhood. It was not a easy life for their mother and each of them.

  Shiela has always been close to her brother Art.  She comes back to Boston to help Art, by proving his innocence.  Mike, Art's half brother believes his brother is guilty.   Art is asked to leave the parish, he doesn't fight for his innocence.   The family has a hard time understanding why, Art just sits back unless, he is guilty.

My Thoughts: I love Jennifer Haigh's writing. I first discovered her writing from her book, Mrs. Kimble. Which I would highly recommend as well.

Ms. Haigh draws you in right from the start of the book. I could see the reels moving. The entire book, I saw it in movie form.  In both books this is how I view her books. I don't know why it has not been picked up for production.

Originally, I did not want to read this book. I thought it would go into religion. 
 But, surprised it didn't. But, she did write about some catholic rituals. But, even if you don't understand what she is speaking about, you will still understand the story.

 I remember the scandal from a few years ago with the archidiocese cover up. Do I really want to read about it again? But, I was surprised the book, Faith was not about so much of the scandal, but the faith you have in people you know. Do you really know them? You lived with them for years growing up, do you really know what makes them tick? Do you think they would do something they are accused of? or wouldn' t they? That is the basis of the story. 

I liked the techniques of each of the character's view of their brother. This drew you in and would not let you go till the end.

The story is a page turning, and suspense and twist and turns that you would expect from Ms. Haigh's books.  It kept my interest just like, with Mrs. Kimble.    I was not expecting the story to go as it did.   I will say, I was suprised by a few things, Sheila, and Mike discovered about their brother, Art.

I will be having a guest post with Jennifer soon.

One thing, Ms. Haigh and I share is the love of the South Shore in Massachusettes.
I enjoyed reading her discription of place. It reminded me of several movies that describe Southie.
 I was unaware that she lived near Nantasket Beach, Hingham, Quincy, Braintree, that brings back fond memories when I was growing up. What a surprise, when I read her book and she mentioned the places I knew when I was little.  If you ar Bostonian's, have you heard of Nantasket Beach(not Nantucket), or Paragon Park?  If you have leave me a message to share.

My grandparents had a summer house there. Every summer when I was growing up, my parents would send me there. It brings back found memories.

My grandmother would take me to the beach everyday.  Or on the otherside was the bay, we had to wear old sneakers, because of the clams that were implanted on shore. 

 My grandfather and I would go fishing and skin the fish.  Yuck! Always ask him to bait the fish for me. Then my grandmother would skin the fish, another yuck! The smell was disgusting.

But, then the other smells, the baking would make up for it.  My grandma Hilda's kitchen  home made blueberry and Apple Pies. Think of wholesome(Father Knows Best).  Grandma Hilda would measure crisco with water to make the pie shells.  My mouth would water. Remembering one day, she left the pies out at the window, and nobody knows what happened, but a pie thief came by. That ended the sweet dream of a wonderful pie accompanied by the Brisket.  Seriously, everyone from the neighborhood came by after dinner and come for a slice of pie, a la mode, or with velveeta cheese.

The Penny Candy store, this was a ritual for me every year, my grandparents would take me. The store looked like a orange pumpkin, with the eyes, as the window, and the door as the mouth. 

Going to the bakery, for the black and white cookies, and the challah. Boy, the smells that came out of the bakery was awesome. I remember the corner drug store, with the fountain all silver interior. Think of Happy Days( tv show).
The best part was going to Paragon Park, the rides included were the Congo, and the Kooky Castle, the train ride, and the beautiful Carosel.  At the end of the day we would go to the Lobster  Stand that was across the street to get a bite.

Unfortunately, I heard Paragon Park is not there any longer, and there aren't summer homes any longer.  But, year long homes.

Can't post without a mention of the Hull Library.
One of my fondest memories was the library. The library was at the end of the town called Hull. You could see the cliffs. The ocean waves would hit the rocks. The library, must have been a old victorian home( gothic looking). It had the wooden floors, and smelled like books!!!. I remember, trying to find Rebecca, at Sunny Brook Farms.

I I hope you will forgive me posting about my my fondest memories, but I could not help myself.
If you would like to share your thoughts of Faith, please do. I would love to hear what other readers and book bloggers have to say about this novel.


I have not read this book but have it on my wish list. I have yet to read a bad review for it. In fact most have said it will be one of their favorite reads of the year. I liked reading about your memories. How cool to share that with the author!
bermudaonion said…
A very good friend of mine told me I HAVE to read this book. She said she will publicly challenge me if I don't. It does sound like a book I would like.
Anonymous said…
Susan, this is lovely! I agree, Nantasket Beach is a marvelous landscape.
The above comment was left from the author, Jennifer Haigh
Elizabeth said…


Just stopping by to have a look around.

Just Mom said…
I would love the chance to read this one - have heard so many good things about it!

theroundfiel at live dot com
Just Mom said…
I'd lov eto read this one - please eneter me!
theroundfile at live dot com

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